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Life is a cabaret in a jaunty Mozart In The Jungle

(Screenshot: Amazon)
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For so much of Mozart In The Jungle, Hailey has been a second fiddle in her career. She’s been an assistant and a substitute, running around and doing others’ bidding. In “Creative Solutions For Creative Lives” she risks being put in this position again, during a moment that’s supposed to be all about her. The big opening of Lizzie’s club has arrived, and Hailey is rehearsing Thomas’ piece with the ensemble she’s created. It’s exciting to see her in charge. Only then Thomas shows up, completely undermining her power. Thomas’ possessiveness is understandable. After all, he’s been a maestro, but his reputation hangs on this composition too. Unfortunately, he acts like a possessive child. At first he sits and mutters to himself, calling her to the side to give notes. Then, he starts conducting behind her. And lastly he begins rewriting his work, creating total chaos. Ester turns out to be a kiss ass—(Yes, this is weird for me to write)—ignoring Hailey, and blindly defending Thomas. When Hailey finally blows up at her, she quits, burning Hailey on the way out. “I guess what everyone said about you is true,” she says. Surely, she’s not just talking about the Andrew Walsh puke story this time. So what do people say about Hailey? That she’s a hanger on? That she’s only found success because of her relationship with Rodrigo? I shudder to think.


So it’s all gone to hell with the concert about to begin. But Thomas, guilty, enlists Joshua Bell to take over Ester’s part. (Hi, musician cameo!) The performance is beautiful. It’s Hailey’s moment of glory, but I do wonder if it’s a sort of pyrrhic victory. Thomas makes the rehearsal process hell, but he also saves her ass. Can Hailey make it on her own? Or is she overly reliant on her connections?

Rodrigo, meanwhile, coasts on ignorance of hierarchies, and he’s charming enough to get away with that. (Men, am I right?) Gloria is still royally pissed off at his youth orchestra announcement, so he resolves to go off and find the money himself. He ends up at a loan office, clueless, listing his assets as famous composers. Tchaikovsky sits wryly in the background of his meeting while “Swan Lake” plays. But Rodrigo is nothing is not persistent and Sara, the loan officer, is ridiculously patient. (Let’s face it, Rodrigo’s also a stone cold cutie, which may be one of the reasons she allows him to hang around.) He’s still there when she has to pick up her son, and offers her a ride on his bike. At the school, Rodrigo immediately goes to work, gathering the children around and starting an impromptu music lesson. Sara is thoroughly impressed and heartened, and she offers him some money. It’s not a loan exactly—it’s just her own cas, but she believes in the cause. Rodrigo will be a great teacher for youngsters. He believes in his craft so strongly, but also refuses to be precious about it

The two storylines never meet. Rodrigo is off doing his own thing—and frankly he doesn’t get anywhere—while everyone else is at Lizzie’s club. Cynthia’s there with Kevin. It’s a conspicuous location for a date, but the two manage to have an honest conversation about their respective ailments. He is no longer able to play basketball so he’s moving on to his ”plan B.” But what of Cynthia? Well, she doesn’t have a “plan B.” You can see the terror in her face. It’s a fear that’s echoed when Thomas goes up to introduce his piece, and when Hailey takes the stage. These are all people venturing into new, scary phases of their careers. Thomas—annoying as he is for most of the episode—has the best way of coping. He dedicates the piece to ”a friend who means a lot to me,” someone who has his “heart.” We’re meant to assume he’s speaking to Gloria, but he doesn’t see her in the audience. “In the words of Aristotle, fuck me really,” he says. “Ah, fuck it.” After all, what is life but a cabaret, old chum? Why not just hear the band?

Stray Observations

  • I’m still not sure I buy the financial viability of Lizzie’s venture. I expect to see it fold next season.
  • Speaking of Lizzie, her performance of her obsession Vítězslava Kaprálová’s song was simply lovely. Hannah Dunne has some pipes.
  • Gloria’s a Knicks fan. I fully buy this and also find it delightful.
  • Which was your favorite cabaret performance? Mine was the ballerina act.

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